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Before I answer that question, let’s quickly de-jargon and explain what an affinity audience is. An affinity audience broadly groups people based on general interests. It somewhat matches media buying audiences for broad media like TV, and so it is best used by marketers who are looking to scale broadly, but still target to some degree. Affinity audiences are broader than In-Market / Intent audiences (those are a way to laser-focus on particular audiences who are interested in your products or services or those that correlate with your buying market).
Custom Affinity audiences are more specific than standard affinity audiences, but still broader than In-Market / Intent Audiences. They fill the gap between these two targeting methods.
They are like a “similar” audience. While an In-Market / Intent audiences will narrowly target someone who has been to a particular URL, or searched particular keywords, a custom affinity audience for the same URLs and keywords will target users who have been to URLs and typed keywords “similar” to the ones you targeted.
Custom affinity audiences are really helpful for broadening custom intent and in-market audiences when you find a really effective audience but it is too small to scale.
For example, if you have a list of competitor websites in a Custom Intent audience, targeting these might get you a few impressions a day. But if you have a list of competitor websites in a Custom Affinity audience, you’ll get a broader audience, who might not have gone to those exact websites, but have been to other websites very similar.
Using Custom Affinity audiences you can target interests (based on keywords), URLs, Places and Apps.
Pro Tip – whenever you create a custom intent audience, pair it with a Custom Affinity audience for exactly the same terms to broaden a little from the very narrow targeting offered by Custom Intent.
This tip and many others are found at https://www.petramanos.com/category/tips/